888.2553/9–151: Telegram

No. 82
The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of State, at San Francisco1

top secret

Telac 4. Eyes only for Secy personal from Matthews. Fol is draft reply to Attlee as approved by you and referred to as (A) in my preceding tel:2

“I deeply appreciate ur full and frank statement which you sent me on Aug 233 setting forth the position of HMG with re to the situation in Iran now that the negots between the Brit and Iran Govs have been suspended.

I am gratified that you found Mr. Harriman’s services of value and you may be confident that both he and I stand ready take any further steps which may be helpful in finding a solution to this difficult and disturbing problem. The US understands and fully shares the disappointment and concern felt by the Brit Gov over the suspension of the recent conversations in Iran.

I desire to state at once that the US agrees with the UK’s views re the seriousness of the situation in Iran and the danger it involves for the free world. The US policies re Iran are designed primarily to prevent the present situation from leading to the loss of Iran and are, I am confident, directed toward objectives similar to those which the UK seeks to achieve. On Aug 23 I made a public statement4 which expressed my disappointment at the suspension of the negots in Tehran and publicly subscribed to the views set forth by Mr. Harriman in his ltr of Aug 21 to PriMin Mosadeq.5 Those views clearly stated the US position and placed the blame for the failure of the negots upon the IranGov. We shall take advantage of any appropriate opportunities that present themselves [Page 157] to repeat these views and to comment specifically upon any Iran action which may be unrealistic.

It is, of course, important that nothing be done to create an impression on part of Irans that there is an important pol divergence between the US and the UK. It is our firm belief, however, that our mutual goal in Iran can best be obtained if US influence in that country, which has been established on the basis of a friendly and openminded approach to the oil dispute is not jeopardized. A blanket endorsement of every step which has been or may be taken in this matter by the UK wld undoubtedly identify the US with the present target of nationalism in Iran, namely, the AIOC, to the detriment of the interests of both of our countries. This does not mean that we shall equivocate upon fundamental rights and wrongs or permit the basis of internatl commercial relations to be undermined, but rather that we shld maintain freedom of action to speak independently in a manner calculated to exert the most constructive influence and to render the most effective type of support possible.

I am sure we both agree that the internal polit situation in Iran indicates that nationalism is a real and potent force. The US does not believe, therefore that our mutual objectives in Iran can be achieved by either of us taking a course of action which wld appear to be in opposition to the legitimate aspirations of the Iran people. Even if a new Gov shld come to power in Iran, we believe that it wld be subj to much the same pressures which have made the present gov unwilling to make the concessions needed for reaching an agreement. However, with the passage of time and with wisdom on our part we believe it possible that the present extreme nationalist pressures may moderate and a more realistic attitude may be assumed by the IranGov.

We are encouraged by our belief that a basis has been established upon which negots can be resumed if and when this takes place. In the meantime, we believe it important that neither the US nor the UK take a public position which might make it politically difficult or impossible for the IranGov to assume a conciliatory attitude.

We believe that coordination in our respective approaches to the Iran problem is essential and we attach great importance to the pol of prior consultation between our two Govs. It is especially desirable that our two Embs in Tehran work in the closest collaboration on all phases of the matter.

I wish to repeat in conclusion that the US desires to work in Iran as elsewhere in the closest possible harmony with the UK. We sincerely [Page 158] believe that we can do this in the particular case of Iran, whose retention in the free world is our common objective.”

  1. Drafted by Ferguson (GTI) and cleared by McGhee, Matthews, Barnes, and Bonbright. Secretary Acheson was in San Francisco for the signing of the Japanese Peace Treaty; for documentation on the San Francisco conference, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. vi, Part 1, pp. 777 ff.
  2. Telac 3, Sept. 1, informed Secretary Acheson that a draft reply to Attlee as approved by Acheson (A) and a revised draft signed by President Truman (B) were being sent to him by separate cables. (888.2553/9–151)
  3. See Document 80.
  4. For the text of President Truman’s statement, see Department of State Bulletin, Sept. 3, 1951, p. 382.
  5. For the text of Harriman’s letter, see Department of State Wireless Bulletin, Aug. 23, 1951, p. 7.